Fibroadenosis Fibroadenosis, also known as fibrocystic breast disease, is a term that is used to describe various conditions and symptoms affecting the breast. Typical symptoms of fibroadenosis include pain (mastodynia or mastalgia), breast swelling, as well as lumps and nodules. Symptoms may affect one or both breasts, with varying degrees of severity.
Different kinds of benign lumps
There are three types of benign breast lumps:
- Fibroadenoma – these are smooth, firm, and rounded lumps of tissue, particularly common among younger women. They move around easily within the breast, and are thought to be caused by the body’s response to oestrogen.
- Breast cyst – a fluid-filled sac that develops into a smooth, firm lump. They may be tiny, or can grow to be several centimetres in diameter. They are most common among women from ages 30 to 60, and with post-menopausal women on hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
- Breast abscess – abscesses are painful lumps of pus that form inside the breast, usually as the result of a bacterial infection; symptoms often include redness and swelling of the skin around the painful area, and fever.
Benign breast lumps are almost always caused by hormonal changes, either due to the natural fluctuations of oestrogen and progesterone during your monthly menstrual cycle, or due to biological changes that affect hormones, such as pregnancy and menopause. It is normal for healthy breast tissue to have a slightly bumpy texture.
The fluid content of the breast tissue may increase due to higher levels of oestrogen, and the glands in the armpit may swell when there is more progesterone in the body. Cysts, which are one type of benign breast lump, are also thought to be caused by hormonal changes.
What to do next
The only way to know for sure whether a breast lump is benign or not is to see a doctor. A painful, soft, and freely-moving lump is less likely to be dangerous than painless, hard, or fixed ones. But it is impossible to know for sure without proper examination and diagnosis from a doctor. Always come in for an appointment if you are worried.
The only way to know for sure is to see a doctor. A painful, soft, and freely-moving lump is less likely to be dangerous than painless, hard, or fixed ones. But it is impossible to know for sure without proper examination and diagnosis from a doctor. Always come in for an appointment if you are worried.
It is normal for the breast tissue to change with the menstrual cycle. Normal breast tissue actually has a mildly bumpy texture, especially nearer the armpits. Sometimes changes in breast texture are due to fluid swelling into the tissues, to higher levels of oestrogen, which causes breast ducts to enlarge, or to higher levels of progesterone, which causes the glands to become swollen.
It Is always advised that you get checked by a doctor if you notice unusual breast lumps. Things to be extra vigilant about include lumps that don’t go away after your period, lumps that have a different texture to what you’re used to, any nipple discharge, nipple inversion, or puckering of the skin of the breast.